November 10, 2014 by JImbo
Not the worst idea ever.
Remember the Pet Rock and the Holocaust?
Really bad ideas.
However, making ANYTHING a “public utility” is the fastest way to handicap it’s usefulness.
Think about this.
The gasoline you put in your car comes from the same refineries as the fuel oil you put in your furnace. Yet, the price of your fuel oil is always MUCH more expensive and it STAYS expensive, even if the cost of making it goes down.
Before you blame the oil companies, consider that they make both together, often from the same raw crude. Along with plastic, paint, and lots of other products. So why would they have low prices on gasoline, plastic and other things but not on fuel oil?
The “public utilities” aren’t truly competitive. Even if you’ve fallen for the “different fuel supplier” mythology, the truth is that it’s STILL the same “utilities” with essentially monopolies on the building, service and maintenance of the energy grid. There is no real competition.
The State decides what they can charge.
The State decides what they can produce.
The State decides how they can run their business.
The State decides that they can’t lose money.
That doesn’t sound like competition to me. As a consequence, the prices are high and the service is low.
Say what you want about the airlines and phone company. Privatizing them (sorta) meant cheaper rates and much better service. All the cries of “unregulated means unsafe!” were just that… crying… by companies that liked having a monopoly.
Even in “unregulated” industries there is a LOT of regulation. The airlines are far from unregulated. They are still VERY regulated… but they’re allowed SOME competition under equal regulation rules.
Of key interest is that they allow new companies into the marketplace. That’s key. It’s expensive but you can start a new airline.
It’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to start a cable company or internet provider anymore. They not only make it difficult… they make it really impossible. It’s not just that there are a lot of regulations to follow. It’s that the game for getting a new company started is rigged.
Imagine you were the only grocery store in town and you charged whatever you wanted because everyone HAD to buy your food. You actually had the County pass a law that said it was illegal for anyone to build a store within 30 miles of yours. After all, food is important so it’s a “critical public utility.”
Would we call that “fair?” It’s not Ethical OR Constitutional. It is simply immoral.
Why do we put up with that crap from “public utilities?” Just because the government has scared us into thinking that “Well if we let companies do it, they’ll stop providing it!”
No… companies didn’t stop flying airplanes… or having telephones… or making food.
They did it cheaper, more efficiently and AS THE CUSTOMER WANTED IT.
There is ample evidence that cell phones would never have been able to make it big in this country (or wouldn’t have nearly as fast) if there wasn’t a deregulation of the telecommunications industry. There is no “public interest” in cell phones after all, and it disadvantaged the OLD telephone companies who had invested so much in telephone poles and lines.
Why can’t we buy cars for under $10,000 like they do in India, China, and much of the world? Because of government. They won’t LET that competition in. They say it’ll hurt our (huge, bloated) car companies and that “they’re not safe enough.”
Why isn’t that MY choice if I buy a car with an airbag or not and save $3,000 each? Isn’t that a call I should be able to make? I’m an adult.
Having an airbag or not won’t make my car any more or less dangerous to other cars on the street. Even insurance rates won’t change for OTHER people. Only MY rates will.
So, back to the issue at hand. The President wants to make the Internet a “public utility.” Well, you can say goodbye to freedom if that happens. They already censor what goes on television. The Internet is a LOT more free than television. Where do you go if EVERYTHING is censored?
So, it makes sense for a tyrannical government to want to control the Internet. That’s where a LOT of people get their news now, not the networks (which they already have control over.) Why else do it?
Cable companies are hemmorhaging subscribers as people just start “streaming” their shows. It’s hard to argue with the customer base. They don’t like “bundling” useless, unwatched channels just to make a few more bucks by the cable company. They have been demanding “ala carte” for years, where you just get the channels you want off a list.
We can have cars like that, order from menus like that, and even have HOUSES built custom… but not our television? That with higher and higher prices means people just don’t find it useful anymore.
So, the monopolistic cable companies use their billions in cash to buy a few politicians and POOF! they figure the Internet will go away… or at least be turned over to them to shut down. First thing of course will be “redistribution of bandwidth.”
They’ll couch it as “making it fairer”, but we all know people that “stream” their TV shows use a lot more data. They pay a bit more for high-speed data plans. So, it equals out in a free market.
However, the government won’t admit that. Prodded by the Cable companies, they will say “Well, you need to SHARE the data EQUALLY. So, everyone gets this set amount (which will be too low to actually accomplish anything) and then have exorbitant fees to get a little bit more. Enough to make it falsely “competitive” with cable prices.
In the government’s mind (and that of Cable companies) that is how you “compete”… by making government punish the guy who does things better. NOT by encouraging the bad companies to improve.
They can’t do that entirely yet. While they pretend it’s a “free market” there are still SOME anti-monopoly laws to follow. However, it’s coming. Once they’re a “public utility”, all bets are off. Then it becomes a “national security issue” or “crucial to national survival and economic well being” and POOF! it’s no longer private. Now the politicians own it.
Hope you don’t like your high speed internet. How is that Russian version of Google doing?
The North Korean Apple?
The Venezuelan Boeing Aircraft Corporation?
The Cuban Facebook?
Oh that’s right those countries don’t HAVE any economic freedom so they have to settle for the crap the government lets them have.
Even China, this supposed huge “tech powerhouse” is not an innovative country. I suppose any population of over a BILLION people will be bound to invent something with 1/4 of the world’s population. It’s the law of averages.
However, their patent and invention rates are abyssmal. They simply don’t create NEW stuff because there’s little market for it. They are stifled by regulation and lack of capital. The economy works much like the farmer’s field in the bible.
A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8
Still other seed fell on good soil.
It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:1- NIV)
For many years we were the “Chosen Land” not because of blood or even resources of climate. It’s because we provided fertile soil for IDEAS and INNOVATION. People had the FREEDOM to try new things.
Not every seed grows even in the best soil, but NO seeds grow without it. We have been poisoning our economic ground for years now with regulations and taxes. We’ve put up awnings over half of the field that shunts all that rainwater to flood another part of the field. As a result, both the dry and flooded bits of field are barren and the government (who put the awning up) are trying to “solve” the problem by… COVERING THE REST OF THE FIELD UP!
You might not know about Neilsen’s Law, but it says internet speed increases about 50% a year. It’s been doing that for about 30 years. Right now it’s lightning fast at almost 10Mmbps (Mega Bytes per Second)
To put that in perspective, I still remember 9600 baud modems back in 1994 being “high speed.” A baud is one bit per second. One bit is one MILLIONTH of a Megabyte (roughly, I won’t get into it in detail)
So, now we are moving about one MILLION times as fast as we did 20 years ago.
That’s flippin’ fast! Unfortunately, it’s getting to the point that you can stream EVERYTHING better than Cable. And outside of legal challenges based on old laws (and again monopolistic government intervention) the Internet is going to win out. The Internet offers, speed, convenience, and CHOICE for the average consumer. Cable does the opposite.Consider that a Netflix movie on HD is about .64 MBPS. We already have about 8-10MBPS in most places around the country. Let’s say two movies in a house, plus Internet surfing, phone, tablet, etc. To make the Internet slow enough to be “reverse competitive” with Cable, you would have to slow the whole system down to maybe 20% of what it moves at now. Now, that saves the companies money. They don’t have to invest in new, faster equipment. After all it’s already 5 times as good as it needs to be, right? No need for innovation.And with slow speeds, if people can’t watch movies on their Internet then the markets to watch them (Amazon, iTunes, whatever) dry up too. It’s a win-win-win for the Cable companies.It’s a lose-lose-lose for YOU the consumer.And of course there’s always the fun “government censorship” angle that can be so much fun. Suppose a future Congress decides that your favorite show is “bad for the country’s youth to watch?” Well, there is only cable now. The air stations will soon be gone. You just got rid of Internet streaming. So, guess you’re SOL “for the good of the country.”Never believe that the government can GIVE you Freedom by taking your rights. The government cannot GIVE you freedom. They can only GIVE you stuff… stuff that is taken from someone else. The only role of government is to stop someone else from taking your stuff by force. That’s it. If they go beyond that, they in turn become the bully they were created to prevent.